You Know It’s Bad When All You Have is BET

Chrisette Michelle

by Eco.Soul.Intellectual

Dare I say it? I swear I don’t want to, but I gotta be honest. BET is the only cable network that consistently features black talent. People, I’m scared right now. How did we come back to the same place we were in the 80s? Absolutely few outlets are celebrating the spine of American music, and the breath of global music—soul music.

So I caught a rerun of the Soul Train Awards (oops sorry, I was watching the Eagles game that night) and enjoyed the Anita Baker Tribute. It was refreshing and sad to see phenomenal vocalists that have limited exposure or have been white-washed out of the industry.

Take for example, the genius Rachelle Ferrell. When I was reporting, people said Rachelle would not make it due to her facial expressions.

Have you ever seen them? Nicki Minaj’s twisted big mouth ain’t got shit on her.

But the melody that comes out of her mouth. Bee-u-tee-ful. And then there was Kem, my gurl Chrisette, Faith (I’m still rocking ‘Soon As I Get Home’) and Lalah Hathaway.

Then in between the commercials there were performances by Eric Benet, Tank, and other people desperately attempt to revive a career or maintain a fleeting one. If you are an artist in this business, and you think that only good music and the people’s choice gets radio play, you are bound to get the creative spirit kicked out of you.

This is all bullshit & politics; nothing cultural, nothing healing. Just money business.

I scratch my head at how fast we throw away the richness of African-American music. In my opinion, music captures the pulse of history. And if we allowing the multi-corporation-owned BET to be the only venue that gives folk little glimpses of exposure, I don’t know if that pulse is being kept alive to maintain history or dilute it? On top of that, I don’t know if we are truthfully vested or compassionate about keeping it alive.

So I’m going to drop the tribute that was done for the irreplaceable Anita Baker.